Wednesday 16 January 2019

Rise and Shite.

January is such a sad time of year. The grey skies, the cold weather and the look of grief on the faces of friends, family and acquaintances when I reply to their question “So, what have you got planned for the new year?”

I have the exact same thing planned for this year as I did for last year, as I did for the year before: Nothing.

And I will stick to that plan. I will not let myself down. At the end of 2019, I will have comfortably achieved my goal. Almost certainly, well before the end.

Each day this year, I will wake up in time for a nice rest. I will consider and dismiss either getting up or getting dressed. That’s for later. For at least an hour, I won’t even open my eyes. I’ll just sink further and further into the mattress while I listen to the outside sounds of wind, birds and people, all ruining their lives by living.

When I finally open my eyes, I spend a solid hour or two ignoring texts or phone calls. They’re probably important, so there’s no point in me getting involved. It’ll end badly. Plus, I have to keep the bedroom ceiling from falling in using only my mind.

I remember there’s a good book lying on the floor beside me. I’m a third of the way through it and for a few moments I wonder what will happen in it next. Then, in my mind, I murder the lead character, consider the book finished and decide that I have now read it.

A friend of mine once said that when she is having a bad day, she just goes to bed. But I say, why take the chance? Stay there. The only bad thing that can happen to you is that you might piss yourself. Then I spend a long passage of time thinking how bad would it really be to lie in your own piss? Surely, it’ll only be initially horrifying like plummeting to your death or going to work. At first, you realise the horror of it but after a while you get used to it, become numb and then, ultimately, oblivion.

I close my eyes again, pull the duvet over my head and enjoy some more reassuring oblivion.

But it’s no good. My bladder is furious and loud. Plus, it’s after lunchtime now, so time for me to get up and have breakfast.

I cook a Diet Coke by opening it. A delicious start to… er… whatever day it is. Yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I find a Diet Coke just hits the spot. Refreshing and doesn’t spoil my inertia with all that chewing.

There are things to do. So many things to do. I have some unread emails. 3,649 to be precise. But first things first: It’s time to help the arse-sized dent on the sofa with its task of hitting the floor. I don’t put the TV on because the remote control and my mind are too far away. So, I heave my legs onto the sofa, lie back and continue my blurred focus on nothing. At 2pm, I hear a siren and feel sad when it goes past, more interested in someone else and not me. But that’s me. Too unmotivated to do a killing spree or set fire to my house. And ambulances are useless. I was in one recently when my leg exploded. They took me to a hospital and a doctor told me that I needed complete rest and my leg would be healed in 6 weeks. 2 weeks later I came back, fully healed. “How did that heal so quick?”, asked the doctor. “I just did what you said”, I told him. “Complete rest”. The doctor was surprised and said “Oh, no one ever actually does that”.

I am and always have been a model patient. I was born to be a patient.

2pm becomes 3 becomes 4 becomes 5. The day is over, and I haven’t started. If I wasn’t so content, so blissfully happy doing nothing, maybe I could be on TV like my friends. I could be on panel shows and chat shows and Bake Off and Question Time. My friends are so busy that I worry about them. How do they fit their nothing in? When I talk to them, they seem so happy that they’re busy. But that’s comedians. Always masking the pain.

“I have barely any free time!”, they say. Free time? What is that. My day is full. I’ve not gone scuba diving, played golf, read Eleanor Oliphant or watched Better Call Saul because I have no time to do things, just 24 hours a day to do nothing. But somehow, I cram all that nothing in. Not false free time nothing. Not “doing nothing, just reading a book” or “doing nothing, just washing myself”. Actual bona fide, genuine, half-dressed rehearsal-for-the-grave nothing.

It is night and people are returning to their homes just as I begin to wake up and go out. This is not as scary as it seems. My night will consist of just a few hours drinking beer and having the same conversation with friends I’ve been having for years. Like minded friends. Comfortable and comforting friends. They don’t ask what I’ve been up to because they know, and they can’t be arsed.

It is bliss. Drinking is lovely. Like going back to bed while you’re out. The beer starts to feel like the duvet. Keeping me warm, safe and in the dark. And soon the beer will put me back into my slumber. It’s an expensive and decadent lifestyle but fast-tracking, whether onto a plane or into oblivion, feels worth every penny at the time.

Finally, bed again. Exhausted but happy, I turn out the light, close my eyes and roll the duvet around me. As I drift off, I think about what could become of me if it wasn’t for the support of apathy. I think we all dodged a bullet there.

A good friend once told me, in a very accusatory tone, “You can’t go back to the womb”.

Mate. I never left.

I “wrote” this blog nearly 2 years ago but didn’t post it. A few days ago, I heard an album by The The called The Inertia Variations. It’s Matt Johnson reading out John Tottenham’s poetry of the same name. I heard it and immediately loved it, despite being jealous that someone was way better at this sort of thing than me. It reminded me of this blog, so I dug it out and changed two bits. It’s still a blog. It’s not art or nothing. John Tottenham’s work definitely is though, and I feel I’ve discovered a great new hero. Here is his genuinely terrible website:

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Nil By Brain.

I have never been interested in sport.

Never wanted to score a goal. Never wanted to come first in a race. Never wanted to win the World Cup. But... I have always wanted to have a sports injury.

Sports injuries are cool. How did you hurt yourself? “By pushing myself to the very limits”. Cool. When I was a child, I’d give my self-penned letter from my mum to my PE teacher to excuse me from wanker class and then just sit there and watch the wankers run around being wankers with a ball. If they tediously controlled the ball, it was “good play”. If someone scored a goal, they were a “good team player”. But if they fell over and cut themselves, somehow they were a hero. The attention they got was amazing. The whole team coming together to help the clumsy, bleeding idiot off the pitch was an incredible sight. I used to look at those limping, bleeding heroes getting their backs patted and their hair ruffled and think: one day, that’ll be me. 

I’d close my eyes and lie back on the grass and imagine me on the pitch during the World Cup final. I’m playing for Northern Ireland alongside Pat Jennings, Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish  and Ray Reardon. We’re facing the might of Brazil. The score is 3 all. Only minutes left of the game. Dalglish has the ball and sprints easily past the Brazilian centre forward. He passes to Keegan who skilfully weaves past player after player. He sees Reardon to his right and me near the goal. This is his chance. He kicks the ball high and direct to Reardon who heads it with precision directly to me. The goal is open. This is my chance. Northern Ireland will win the World Cup!!

Then Brazil’s cheating bastard Johan Cruyff comes out of nowhere and hacks my shin like a prick. I’m in agony. The Brazilian goal keeper takes the ball and kicks it to Pele. Jennings has left the Northern Ireland goal to tend to his team mate and call him a hero. I’m surrounded by my teammates all patting my back and ruffling my hair as Franz Beckenbauer puts the ball into the Northern Irish net. Brazil has won the World Cup to the boos of all nations including Brazil, who changes the name of its country to Leggetown.

I arrive home to a hero’s welcome. George Best apologises for thinking the World Cup was next week. Ian Paisley shakes my hand and says “Honestly, I’ve been such a dick. Well, I’m changing my ways, buddy!”. And Dana sucks on her finger and slowly slides it into my bumhole. 

But that’s just a teenage football dream. It never happened. And, outside of injuries, I remain completely uninterested in sport or any physical activity. Until recently.

I have arthritis. It hurts a lot. After medication made me both very sleepy and unable to drink alcohol (therefore denying me the ability to be me), I decided to take the doctor’s original advice: start exercising. I have never exercised in my life until this year. I quit the arthritis medicine and I took up... aqua jogging.

Aqua jogging is easily the simplest and least demanding exercise you can do. You put on a floatation belt, get into the pool and you jog up and down. That’s it. Your feet don’t even touch the bottom of the pool. There is absolutely no impact with aqua jogging. You just trick your body into thinking that it’s doing a lot more than it actually is. Plus, when I aqua jogged in a proper aqua jogging class, it wasn’t a bunch of really old people doing it. No. It was 20 year old runners who’d had injuries and this was a great way to keep their bodies in shape for running when they got better. And when those young athletes looked at me, their faces seemed to say “good for him. I hope I’m still running marathons at his age”. Yes! My first sports injury! But... it’s a fictional one, just like the World Cup Final. It felt good though. As did the actual aqua jogging.

Get this: it worked. I was off meds and I could get around and do whatever I wanted pain free. All I had to do was exercise! Turns out, there really is something in all fitness talk. After a while, I had another appointment with my doctor. He was delighted with my news. Aqua jogging three times a week was saving the day. He was very happy for me. And then he suggested it was time to push it a bit further.


He enrolled me in a six week gym class where I had to go and exercise with a class on proper gym equipment twice a week.

Fuck’s sake. This was everything I didn’t want. Real exercise. Not the gentle splashing of aqua jogging. No longer would I be able to lie to my body by doing gentle, gentle “exercise”. I’d be telling my body the hard truth. With real exercise. Weights, machines, fucking warm-ups... WITH OTHER PEOPLE. This is not me.

How wrong I was. My gym class consisted of me and four others. I was the only person in my class who wasn’t an elderly, Christian Jamaican woman. And I instantly loved them. 

We did exercises like standing on one leg, walking in a straight line and lying down. And after every exercise, the gym instructor would clap and say “Well done, guys!” and my four gym buddies would all turn to me and individually say “God bless you”.

Isn’t that amazing? Seriously. They believe in an almighty creator of all things AND they want Him to bless me. I have NO equivalent to that. I tried saying “I hope David Bowie likes you”, but it’s not the same, is it? And every time they “God bless” me, I loved them more.

Those six weeks flew by. And every week, the gym instructor made it a bit harder for me (but not any of the rest of them). Instead of walking in a line, go on a cycling machine. Instead of standing on one leg, lift weights. Instead of lying down, RUN! And, I can’t lie... I started to really like it.

Since then, I’ve been going to the gym. Gently, but regularly. Cycling, rowing, lifting, running. And, it’s not me, but I like it. And if you really stick at something like that, you’ll achieve your goal. I know because I achieved mine.

Last Saturday, I woke up and my left calf hurt. Nothing bad but it definitely hurt. I stretched it to try to get rid of the pain, something I wouldn’t have known to do before my Christian Women’s Gym Class. But stretching didn’t work.

It got worse over the next few days and I just kept stretching to try to get rid of the pain. Then, on Thursday, I actually looked at my leg. It was swollen. Then I did another thing that isn’t me. I went to A&E.

I normally ignore lumps or bumps but pain is something I’m not keen on. I was checked out and diagnosed with DVT. That’s right, I barely moved all my life and now that I’m going to the gym regularly, I’ve got Deep Vein Thrombosis. That makes sense.

Except, they were wrong. The next day, my leg had swollen further and it was hard for me to walk. They took me in for blood tests, an examination and a scan. Turns out, a thing called a Baker’s Cyst ruptured behind my knee. The cyst is there to provide fluid for my knee so I can walk. But when it burst, the fluid poured into my leg. My leg detected a foreign object and immediately attacked it without ever considering that the Baker’s Cyst fluid is good for me and the leg ended up doing far more damage to itself than it ever could. Yes, my leg is a metaphor. 

My leg then became massive. HUGE. 

The doctor asked what physical activities I get up to and I told him about the gym. Several visits to hospital later and I’m still in horrible pain and I’m getting around (the house) on a crutch. Yesterday, the doctor said “I don’t know what you did in the gym on that Friday but please be careful you don’t do it again”.

I cannot lie. I left the hospital so proud of myself. I’d done it. I’d achieved my dream. I hadn’t let my teenage self down. It took a long time but I worked hard, I focused and I won: I had a sports injury.

Then I had another thought. 

I wasn’t at the gym that Friday. I was at aqua jogging class. 

And that’s the story of how I broke a sporting record: The world’s first person to get a sports injury from aqua jogging.

Pathetic? Yes. But still... someone tell Dana.

Monday 23 July 2018

Cats and Dogshit.

When I turned 40, I decided that I didn’t want to be a smiley, cheery stand-up on stage anymore. I wanted to be miserable, because that’s who I am.

Doing those miserable Edinburgh shows made me happier than I’ve ever been in comedy. They’re basically therapy for whatever it is that’s missing in my life and for whatever it is in life that I’ve done wrong. But when I turned 30, all I wanted to be was a stand-up comedian. I didn’t realise you could just be yourself, I thought you had to be likeable. I’m not likeable but I gave it a really good go. Pretty much my first ever bit of compering warm up that I ever came up with was getting the audience to shout out the names of rubbish bands from the 80’s with the promise that the person who named the worst band would win dinner for two anywhere in the UK. “Bros!”, they would shout. “A Flock of Seagulls!” On and on it would go with everyone having a fun time (except me) until someone said Rick Ashley and I handed them two Pot Noodles.

Mind you, it was better than my previous job. An office job that I hated, but it was me that wanted the job so I applied for it even though I knew I’d hate it. I was 20 then.

Before that, I was working in a police station in Northern Ireland. Like all the jobs I’ve had, I really really wanted this one. I wanted it because I could walk there from home. I wanted it because it was a shit job that anyone could do and I wanted it even though I knew I’d hate it and I did. Every bit of it.

Before that, when I was 18, I worked in a morgue. Well, I sorted out their autopsy photos. I did that for a year. Why? Because I wanted to, even though I didn’t want to because no one could ever want to.

When I was 17, I got a job in a furniture shop because I’d just left school and I “knew” that if I didn’t get a job immediately that the entire world would explode before I’d seen real breasts. I got that job because I really wanted it and I did that job even though I hated it.

On Friday night, I did a gig at the West End Centre in Aldershot. They were holding a 3 day festival featuring comedy and live bands. Before my show, I went to see one of the bands. They’re called The Keep Cats. They played guitar based indie rock and they were utterly magnificent. They looked cool, they sounded cool, they are cool. In fact, they’re the only good and important thing on this planet. Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes you feel more like you’ve wasted your life more than watching 4 fifteen year old guys playing so incredibly well while the 50 or so audience members stand way back admiring them while one girl, and one girl only, is down the front jumping around like her life depends on it.

It is literally the most exciting thing on Earth.

The Keep Cats will be huge. They’ll play stadiums and perform to thousands and that will be OK. But it will never be as good as being in a band when you’re 15, playing great songs while one girl jumps up and down at the front. I do my stupid Edinburgh shows because they’re basically therapy for whatever it is that’s missing in my life and for whatever it is in life that I’ve done wrong. And this is what’s missing and that is what I did wrong. I forgot to be 15 and in a band. Even Barney’s, the promoter, introduction for the band was utterly fantastic. “They’re already sort of famous in Reading”, he said. “But I want to make them famous in Aldershot”.

Seriously. What is better than that?

I’ve bought The Keep Cats music on iTunes and they’re great. They’re now famous in one small part of Lewisham too. I’m a fan and I’m jealous as all hell of them. I was never hit as a child and now I’m a comedian so let that be a lesson to all parents. Hit your children. Hit them hard and often. Anytime they aren’t practising an instrument, take your belt off and thrash until they’ve written the next Lust For Life. Because when each and every one of us enters this world, we are musicians. Some of us forget and by the time we remember, it’s too late. Hit your children or they’ll end up in hell.

And I’ll see them there.

Tuesday 1 May 2018


I’m a huge fan of the band Sparks. They had massive chart hits in the early 70’s with songs that were in no way obviously commercial. The tunes were there, clearly, but the complex arrangements, the witty and poetic lyrics and the falsetto vocals made them a challenge for some. And by some, I mean idiots. Plus, some people were put off by the keyboard player looking a bit like Hitler. But Sparks only got better as time went on and, as a result, became less popular. Of course, they’ve now been producing challenging, inventive pop music for so long and so often that everyone’s finally realised how great they’ve always been and now they’re really popular again. Sparks are two brothers aged 72 and 69 and they are pop stars.

And I’ve been thinking about them a lot recently. In 1974, they were at the top of the charts (well, near it) and rubbing shoulders with Donny Osmond, Olivia Newton John and Gary Glitter and they probably could have gone on like that forever, but they kept changing their musical style and getting better and, generally, people hate that. So, the records got better but the hits stopped. Then last year they had their first top 5 album in 40 years. Why? Because they did what they wanted, and they did it brilliantly, and it took the rest of the world that long to catch up.

I’ve been thinking about Sparks lately because, as always, I’ve been thinking about myself.
Where am I in all this? I do what I want and… well, do I have to wait until I’m 72 for the world to discover my genius or has the world already discovered that I’m shit?

It’s not like you can’t be true to your art in stand-up comedy AND be hugely successful. Look at Daniel Kitson. He sells out huge venues with almost no advertising, no TV presence, relying only on the fact that he’s probably the best stand-up comedian in the country. John Oliver is another good example. He used to do clever, informed satire in front of drunks in crappy, stinking comedy clubs in dismal UK towns a Megabus cry away from London. Now he does the same thing in front of the entire world on television. I’d say even Michael McIntyre is a good example too. He always wanted to connect with as many people as possible. Also, he's a great stand-up. He worked at it, stayed true to his aim and it paid off. Whereas I swear a lot and have a moderately successful podcast. But maybe people just haven’t caught up with how brilliant that is yet?

So, where am I? Where do I stand in the world of comedy? What has happened so far and what are the soaring highs and the still-falling lows? What have I achieved? What can I look back on? What is my moment? That moment where I was part of art and success? That moment where I was part of something that was going somewhere? What is the moment in my life where I felt a part of the comedy community, with art and success and me sitting together as closely as we’ll ever be?

I think I know when that moment was.

Many years ago, I was once on a bill at a very small comedy night in Soho. I remember it very well for two reasons. Firstly, the bill was Daniel Kitson, Michael McIntyre, John Oliver and me. Just think about that for a second. Secondly, the venue’s toilet was broken.

While John Oliver was on stage being brilliant, I decided to go to the toilet. I went downstairs to the gents and, as I entered, I saw Daniel Kitson walk out of the cubicle. “It’s broken”, he said. But I needed it, so in I went.

I locked the cubicle door and looked into the toilet bowl. There was shit in it. Daniel Kitson’s shit. The shit of the future greatest stand-up in the country. I tried flushing the toilet, but nothing happened. It was disgusting but, I had no choice. I had to shit on the shit of the future greatest stand-up in the country. Then Michael McIntyre walked into the gents for a pee. I knew it was him because he was talking and I recognised his voice. He was talking about me. He didn’t say anything that bad, but he definitely didn’t say anything that good. Something about how he was surprised that I was on the bill. Not that that bothered me. It’s hard to be hurt by criticism when you are shitting on another man’s shit.

Above me, I heard the voice of John Oliver coming through the venue’s PA system. He was doing a great routine but how it’s always funny “on the way here” if you’re a comedian. I laughed. And that made Michael McIntyre stop talking.

And that’s my moment. The closest I’ve ever come to success. The voice of the most respected satirist of our time above me, being bitched about by the most popular entertainer on TV at my side and, below me, the filth of the greatest stand-up comedian in the country.
When do I get to sing My Way?

Monday 16 April 2018

A Michael Legge Joint.

“If I speak what is false, I must answer for it”.

Thomas Fuller said that. Seems obvious, I suppose. I think Thomas and I would have got on so it’s a shame we missed each other by just 300 years. He was pretty much my age when he died, he got very ill on my birthday, which I’ve done loads of times although he got ill on my birthday in 1660, and he often sounded a bit like me. “We are born crying, live complaining and die disappointed”. I mean, that’s pretty much every single thing I’ve ever said in one sentence.

And “If I speak what is false, I must answer for it” seems very prevalent right now. Everyone lies, and everyone knows everyone lies but they love the lies so much that they decide it’s now true. But that’s not why I’ve been thinking about my dead friend Thomas. I’ve been thinking about what he said because I often get words wrong. I say the completely wrong word by accident and it changes everything I want to say. Because, unlike Thomas, I’m a fucking idiot.

But, like Thomas, I am middle-aged and ill. YES! The dream double. I’m constantly exhausted, I’m constantly in agony and I have every disease known to man. Let’s list those diseases right now, Ladies…

I have asthma, arthritis, psoriasis, diphtheria, croup, whooping cough (had that for a while now), sickle cell anemia (don’t know how I got that, I think my body is a racist), the plague, smallpox, largepox, heart attack (I have a heart attack), dick flu and a bum full of strokes. I have every disease. But I soldier on bravely.

It’s rare anyone ever wants to talk about illness. It’s not like skateboarding or Garbage Pail Kids stickers or whatever is cool these days. But a week ago, my arthritis got so bad that I couldn’t move. At all. This is “normal”, said a doctor who thinks its normal to be a corpse who can feel pain. It’s just a “flare up”. This was such comfort to me as I lay in bed completely static and screaming my unmoving tits off.

Later that day, I was fine. It was just a “flare up” after all. I was right as rain. Nothing to worry about. But… you know… I wanted a bit of sympathy. Aren’t I at least allowed that? Just some acknowledgement of my bravery. I left the house and bumped into a neighbour who said, “How are you?”

A perfect chance! I can talk all about the pain of my ungodly arthritis and get all the sympathy and medals I want. Hooray!

Now, if only I was a bit more like Thomas Fuller. If only I didn’t get all my words mixed up all the time. If only I wasn’t a fucking idiot.

All you really need to know about what happened next is this: I got the words ARTHRITIS and DIARRHOEA mixed up. Jesus fucking Christ. “If I speak what is false, I must answer for it”.

“I’ve not been well actually”, I said with a brave face. “Diarrhoea”.

My neighbour screwed his face up in a disgusted, I-don’t-want-to-hear-about-that way.

“Yeah. It’s been really bad lately”, I said, like a hero. “Couldn’t get out of bed for hours”.
My neighbour looked sickened. He just looked appalled and sad and said “God…”

“Yeah. I’ve had it for years but only started getting treatment for it a few months ago. It’s been fine for months but today… Today was just awful”.

“You can’t have had it for years”, he said. That was very kind, I thought. Yes, I do hide it well but it’s true. I’ve actually had it since my late 20’s. My neighbour then just stared at me. This was great. Way better than I was expecting. He knows the agony I’ve been through, he knows how long I’ve lived with it and, yet, here I am standing in front of him with no visible trace of my illness and he just can’t find the words. This was exactly the sort of pick me up I needed. Yes, neighbour. You’re right. I am brave. Very brave indeed.

After more explaining of my bravery and the terrible affliction that has clearly not got the better of me, he finally spoke. “Jesus”, he said. “Christ almighty. What… what are they doing about it?”

“Nothing they can do about it really”, I told him. “You sort of just have to live with it”.

You live with it like a hero would. One day at a time. “I don’t think I could have avoided it”, I said. His face now completely baffled. Yes, I get it: I’m a legend. But time to put him out of his misery. I’ll explain a little bit about the illness, then he’ll get it. “My dad has it so… you know”.

“Wait.”, he said. “Diarrhoea isn’t hereditary”.

I spoke falsely, and the payment was a rush of redness to the face. The penny dropped. I am a fucking idiot.

All I wanted was a bit of sympathy. Some there-theres after a painful day of dealing with arthritis. Something I deal with every day. And I think I deal with it pretty bloody well, actually. Very pretty bloody well. And all I wanted, all I fucking wanted was just a little bit of recognition. A little admiration for dealing with something so well. I wanted someone to look at me and think “There goes Michael Legge. A man who does not give into pain but rises above it with dignity and courage. There goes a hero”.

But no. Because of ONE TINY LITTLE MISTAKE, one incorrect word, one misuse of our great nation’s tongue, I will forever be considered the man who shat himself for 20 years.

Fuck you, Thomas.

Sunday 15 April 2018

Try a Little Tinderness.

I love my noise-cancelling headphones. I wear them every time I go out and it means I don’t have to hear any sound made by any other human (other than, at the moment, Lou Reed). I also wear a blindfold and a nose clip for similar reasons. When I leave the house, I just don’t want to ever have to acknowledge that people actually exist. They’re awful. They make horrible noises and they all look and smell like shit. Every single one of them. But, you know, even I have to admit that sometimes by blocking out all the senses (I also wear a full body sock and a tongue hat), I’m missing out on some beautiful real-life stories. Take Friday night for example…

There I was, sitting in a bar in South East London minding my own business when I heard the unmistakable noise of a human being. It was loud and shrill and ugly. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop on the man’s conversation, he insisted on it. He wasn’t even sat particularly near me, but I could hear every word he was saying because he was shouting over the sound of a pub stereo that wasn’t playing. This was a perfect time for me to put on my headphones, but the man caught my interest. I even wrote down a few things that he said because I never wanted to forget them. He was bellowing at a woman and it was the most bizarre seduction I had witnessed that entire day.

“I don’t want to pay pub prices anymore”, he honked at her. “You’re more than welcome to join me in my flat where I have many wines. Some of them actually good wines. But it is a long walk away and up a steep hill and that might be tough for someone like you (he means she’s a bit fat) but I like your company and I’m leaving now”.

I couldn’t hear what she said to him, but I happily imagined that it was very, very threatening. Of course, this is really very snobby of me. I’m probably taking everything he said out of context. Maybe he did just want to have a glass of wine? Maybe he’s just a bit gruff but really he’s the absolute salt of the earth? I’m sure he doesn’t really think that people who are a bit fat can’t walk up a hill. No. I’m sure I’ve got it all wrong. But then he got a bit louder.

“I’m going to the toilet and then I’ll leave”, he announced to absolutely everyone in the world. “If you could make your mind up by the time I get back then there’s no hassle. If you want to get an Uber, then you can do that. But I’m leaving. If you want to join me, I’m fine either way. I have wine and a nice bed. Up to you. I’m bursting”.

And with those sweet words of love, he departed for a slash.

That man will be alone forever, I thought. I mean, I know it’s hard to talk to someone you fancy but ordering them about isn’t going to help. And now she’s alone while he has his ultimatum piss, this is her chance to just get up and leave. Why spend another second with that dick. Just go.

But she stays. And he comes back.

He doesn’t leave though. He sits down and shouts a bit more instead. He lists the wines he has. It turns out that he might have five bottles of wine. Now that’s hot. Again, he asks if she’s coming or not? That is such a smooth move. Then he talks about his very high cholesterol. Bragging, yes, but anything to impress a lady, right? Anything to seduce her back to his love pad. Anything to capture the heart of his prey. He told her that he knew he had high cholesterol because of his HIV test.

Now, I might not be Velvet P. Lovewanger (I bloody am), but even I’m not sure that bringing up your high cholesterol and your HIV test on a date is a guaranteed fuck-ticket. To be fair, honesty is very refreshing when on a date. But I know more about him than I need to know and I’m not even going to get a choice of five wines and a terrible shag out of it.

He then just repeated “I’m going. Up to you” at her while putting on his coat. He must have said it 10 times. “I’m going. Up to you. I’m going. Up to you. I’m going. Up to you”. And then they left together.

That woman is going to have a terrible night. I felt depressed.

Which was unfair. Because I don’t really know what happened. I just picked up what was going on from the things he shouted and the way he shouted them. I didn’t hear a single thing she said. Maybe I’ve got it all out of context and everything is totally fine. Maybe they’re in his nice bed right now, laughing and drinking one of five wines and ripping each other’s clothes off in a fit of genuinely deep, romantic passion. Then why do I feel sad? Why do I feel sad for someone I don’t know? Why didn’t I just put my headphones on?

Then she came back into the bar, laughing down her mobile phone. “WHAT A WANKER!”, she said.

And she said it a lot to whoever was on the other end of the phone. “WHAT A WANKER!”.

20 minutes later, another woman turns up and joins her at her table. They laugh and drink and they both say “WHAT A WANKER!”

I’ve decided that this is my feel good story of the year. It certainly made me very happy. Sometimes you just have to leave the headphones off. Sometimes. Otherwise I’d have missed out on a bit of real life. A dirty, sleazy tale. A scary one. A sad one. But one with a very happy ending. What would Lou Reed know about any of that?

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Signal Virtue.

I was in a bad mood yesterday, but British Telecom really helped cheer me up.

I’ve been in a bad mood for a while now (don’t know if you’ve noticed) and it hasn’t been made better by my worst enemy: ordinary members of the public. As you know, everyone in the UK voted for Brexit. They may not have physically ticked the Brexit box on National Cunt Confirmation Day, but they still fill the grey between eternal nothingness by playing music loudly out of shit speakers in public, attack everyone they agree with on social media and clip their fingernails while sitting next to you in Costa’s. If that isn’t separating yourself so that you can live by your own backward laws, then I’m a Dutchman (this is my pathetic attempt to get a non-UK passport).

My bad mood was brought on by a man playing noise out of his phone while he sat near me in a local café. I said nothing. I don’t say anything at all these days to people who do this because, sadly, making noise come out of your phone is now how we all live. It’s been normalised. People get their phone out in a café, bus or funeral parlour and don’t give the slightest shit that we can all hear their tinny screeches of football, Ed Sheeran or hilarious YouTube racists piercing our eardrums while we pretend that we’re cool with it and control the High Street shooting spree within. And then, in the café, bus, funeral parlour or cinema, someone sitting near you WHO HAS SAID NOTHING to the person making the noise, has the fucking brass balls to turn to you, A COMPLETE STRANGER WHO IS NOT MAKING ANY NOISE, and sort of tut a bit. Why the fuck are you tutting at me? You’re not trying to bond with me, are you? You’re not actually turning to me and saying, “Isn’t it terrible that that person is making unnecessary noise?” when that person who is making unnecessary noise is just a few feet away? They’re RIGHT FUCKING THERE. Not that telling them will do any good. You should have told them years ago. But you didn’t. You sat there in the café, bus, funeral parlour, cinema or children’s hospital ward and did nothing, just occasionally rolling your eyes at a fellow passenger to let them know that you didn’t vote Brexit like that other cunt playing Foo Fighters out of his fucking iPhone. That was your chance to stand up and be heard but you did nothing so now you’ll just have to live with it. Like Noel Gallagher.

Voting or non-voting on the Making Noise In Public debate is meaningless anyway now that British Telecom has pushed for a hard Brexit for everyone by actually having noise pollution as a happy, loving family moment in their recent television advert. A bastard gets on a bus and gets her phone out to see a Facetime call from another bastard. Even though she is on a crowded bus full of people that don’t want to hear about her bastard life, the bastard answers the call and we hear the bastard on the other end of the phone say “Hello. Here’s something exciting” THROUGH THE SPEAKER OF THE PHONE SO THE WHOLE BUS CAN HEAR. The “exciting” thing is that the bastard’s cunt child is making her first white supremacist’s march around their living room. British Telecom have cleverly made sure we have no hatred towards the bastard making all the shitty noise in public by making her a member of medical staff. Like Harold Shipman.

So, it’s normalised now. I’m angry that the man near me in the cafe is making all the noise through his phone even though he must know it’s annoying for anyone else. But then, since when has a Brexit voter ever cared? And the silent majority in the café say nothing too.

The only bit of joy I get in the café is hearing the man sigh when the video he is watching starts buffering. This happens a lot. He sighs. He watches 10 seconds of Hitler pouring baby oil on his own bum, the video buffers and he sighs again. It goes on like that for ages. Sigh, Hitler, sigh. Sigh, Hitler, sigh. Then his sighs get angrier. He can’t watch his beautiful führer oil up for Britain for more than 10 seconds without it stopping. I look at my phone. I can’t even get a signal. Turns out that the only way you can get a signal to watch any Nazi propaganda is to connect to the café’s wifi. The man complains to the café staff that the wifi isn’t working. They apologise and switch the wifi off and on again in the hope that will help the man get his white noise/white supremacy fix. It still doesn’t work for him and he sighs heavier than ever. He sits back down and sadly puts his phone away. So, I try to get on the café’s wifi too, but it doesn’t work for me either.

Of course, it doesn’t work. The café’s wifi is BT.

They can try to separate us, get us to hate one another with social ignorance and lying propaganda but thanks to good old British incompetence, they will never win. The fight continues.